The 148th Open is underway with the backing once again of major sponsorship from banks and the credit cards sector.
But which banks and credit card issuers are the biggest supporters of golf?
Mastercard and HSBC lead the field by some distance.
And both Mastercard and HSBC are backing the Open, back in Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.
HSBC and Mastercard each agreed $20m deals to sponsor the Open golf tournament for five years from 2016 to 2020.
But the iconic British Open is just one of many golf sponsorship deals backed by HSBC and Mastercard.
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Sponsorship from banks: golf’s biggest financial services sponsors
Mastercard currently spends over $20m per year on golf sponsorship.
Its biggest agreement is a four deal at $9m per year supporting the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida. The deal runs from 2017 to 2020 and gives Mastercard the status of main sponsor.
In addition, Mastercard spends $6m a year as sponsor/partner of the PGA Tour in the US. The deal is worth in total $35m running from 2017 to 2022.
Mastercard also backs a number of leading professionals. For example, World number four Justin Rose is backed by Mastercard at an estimated $300,000 per year.
Top 100 professional Graeme McDowall is also on the Mastercard roster as a brand ambassador. McDowall has been supported by Mastercard since 2010 albeit at around one-half the rate enjoyed by Rose.
Other Mastercard brand ambassadors include Brandt Snedeker and Brooke Henderson.
Meantime, HSBC currently spends over $15m a year on golf.
Sponsorship from banks: HSBC’s biggest golf deals
HSBC agreed a $40m deal in 2016 running for five years as title sponsor of the World Golf Championships.
Also in 2016, HSBC agreed a five year deal at $2.5m per year to sponsor the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
Smaller HSBC golf deals include the LPGA Tour and sponsorship of the Emirates Golf Federation.
Both deals are estimated to be worth around $500,000 per year.
Wells Fargo’s overall annual spend on golf is dwarfed by HSBC. But its title sponsorship of the Wells Fargo Championship is a major deal and one of golf’s biggest.
The Wells Fargo deal is worth a total of $48m at $8m a year running from 2019 to 2024.
Sponsorship from banks: Citi, RBC, Société Générale and ING also chip in
Citi is regularly among the most enthusiastic banking backers of sport and golf is no exception.
Since 2015, Citi invests $2m a year as sponsor/partner of golf’s Presidents Cup.
World number 9 Justin Thomas is backed by Citi as a brand ambassador at an estimated $400,000 per year.
Other Citi brand ambassadors include world number 11 Xander Schauffele at an estimated $300,000 per year.
Meantime, Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s biggest financial services sector golf sponsor. In particular, RBC is title sponsor of both the RBC Heritage and the RBC Canadian Open. RBC invests $1.5m a year to support the Canadian PGA tour.
The six year deal started in 2018 and runs to 2023.
RBC brand ambassadors include a number of leading professionals. These include world number 2 Dustin Johnson and world number 13 Matt Kuchar.
In France, Société Générale is more associated with rugby union but it has sponsored the French Golf Federation since 2008. The current deal is worth $1.5 per year making Société Générale one of the biggest European banking golf sponsors.
European rival ING is also active, investing $400,000 per year as main sponsor of the Dutch Golf Federation.
American Express backs USGA
In the cards sector, American Express is active although not on the scale of Mastercard. Amex has backed the USGA since 2016 in a deal worth an estimated $2.5 per year.
Amex also backs world number 17 Tony Finau in a brand ambassador deal worth an estimated $300,000 per year.
Other prominent backers include Sumitomo Mitsui via its $1m per year deal to sponsor the Singapore Open.
And in South Africa, Investec invests $500,000 per year to sponsor the Sunshine Tour.
Sponsorship data for this piece is sourced from Sportcal, a division of GlobalData, publishers of Retail Banker International. Every day, Sportcal gathers analyses and connects vast amounts of sports industry data via its News, Media, Sponsorship and Events platforms. The result? Streamlined, actionable intelligence to enable confident decision making.